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Law firm Schubert Jonckheer & Kolbe has launched an antitrust investigation into CVS and Rite Aid over their decision to stop accepting Apple Pay in their retail stores. As noted by MacRumors, the firm, which specializes in class action lawsuits, made the announcement on their blog last night.

Attorneys for Schubert Jonckheer & Kolbe say that the two retail chains may have violated anti-trust laws, and the situation has class action potential. “Consumers with phones that support Apple Pay may be able to participate in a class action to restore the service at CVS and Rite Aid retail stores.”

Both CVS and Rite Aid stores stopped accepting wireless payments last month following the launch of Apple Pay. The reason for the move is due to their involvement in the Merchant Customer Exchange (or MCX), a consortium of retailers developing their own mobile payment system called CurrentC.

MCX has admitted that it has an exclusivity agreement with its retail partners, in order to give CurrentC time to develop, but it does say that this won’t be the case forever, and partners are free to leave the group at any time. CurrentC is currently being tested in Minnesota and various other markets.

Schubert Jonckheer & Kolbe is asking that iPhone 6, 6 Plus and Android owners who have attempted to use Apple Pay or Google Wallet at CVS or Rite Aid contact them regarding the investigation. Keep in mind this is all preliminary for now, and it’s very likely this case will never make it to court.

What do you think, does this case hold water? Are the MCX partners violating anti-trust laws?

[Class Action Lawyers via MacRumors]

  • Thanks goodness. These guys need to be taught a lesson.

    • gittlopctbi

      Oh, really? That’s ridiculous.

    • Shane

      these guys maybe a dixx for blocking apple pay for whatever competition reason or else, but I don’t think they can/should be forced into it.
      it’s like somebody suing apple for not implementing NFC (before apple pay came out), when nfc payments were thing of the day with other manufacturers, even at cvs and rite, and apple wasn’t budging.
      if I have to name companies who do impose restrictions for competitive (or else) reasons, apple would make it to the top 5.

  • TwinSon

    Meh, I just won’t shop at CVS anymore.There’s always a walgreens right across the street anyways. What is annoying is Best Buy and Walmart don’t accept Apple.

    • Chris

      That is because they too are both part of the CurrentC program, I was speaking to a friend while he was in a Best Buy and I heard the girl serving him ask “what’s Apple Pay?”.

      I wouldn’t expect either to accept it until they realise CurrentC has failed before it’s even launched.

  • Yujin

    Sue them so I can get my .06 cent rebate!!!!!!

  • Chris

    Even if this does gain momentum the bucket would only be half full, I don’t think enough people care; instead they will just divert to Walgreens and other companies that accept Apple Pay already.

    • mike

      Not the case for a Rite Aid employee. They do some ballsy stuff, but this is by far the most idiotic decision one could make.

      • Chris

        Idiotic is one way to describe it, others could be moronic, self absorbed, pinheads, nitwits.

        I’ve never had any first hand experience with them as I live in Australia but if I ever go over to the states I’m making sure to walk past them.

    • Shane

      I wouldn’t be surprised if apple is pulling some string here themselves, because it’s not about gaining momentum, it would server as a reminder (friendly warning) for anybody else wanting to go through the same path, and to scare them a bit into choosing the safe way, at least that’s what I would have done if I was in apple and I saw such pattern developing 😉

  • GuyBey0ndC00L

    It was only a matter of time.

  • Bugs Bunnay

    nah. let’s just stick with the movement of not shopping there anymore and let them dig a grave for themselves after they realize the fact the currentc actually is a failed project with a high chance your information in their database will get hacked again.

  • Harold

    I went to sports authority and I asked if i could use apple pay and they all looked at me and said what was that. I ignored what they said and paid with apple pay. they all were in shock!!!! asking me thousands of questions about how i do that, what phone I had etc etc… it was so annoying. then they all screamed at each other saying I paid with my phone. I was like wtf

    • Tony Trenkle Jr.

      lol thats awesome.

    • Blip dude

      Yeah, this keeps happening to me every time I use Apple Pay at the schools vending machines!! I pull out my phone, lift it up to the NFC and I get looks and questions about how is it that I can use my phone to pay.

      • Harold

        I was so embarrased lol. everyone was looking at me

      • sup

        lol

    • sup

      lol, yeah, people went crazy when i started using my android phone 2 years ago to pay for stuff since the tech was around back then. We android users have already gone through this, now iphone users are seeing it and act like its the most amazing thing ever. BTW, why is anyone asking “do you accept apple pay”? all you gotta do is look at their credit card reader or ask if they take “NFC” payments, its been around for a while. employees will know what you mean when you ask for NFC payments, not apple pay which is apple’s magical name for the same tech that’s been around.

      • Blip dude

        LOL, I actually remember using NFC on my debit card back in 2007 before the recession resulting in Chase buying out Washington Mutual. Once Chase took over the option for using NFC instead of swiping debit cards went away, which was something I always used as it was obviously easier than swiping + PIN. But I am glad I have the NFC option again.

      • Jeff Maxwell

        This must all seem really unfair to you, doesn’t it? Google was an early adopter to mobile NFC payments yet it’s obvious that Apple is going to end up getting all the credit. I’m sure that sucks for you.

        On the other hand, maybe it’s a good lesson that if you’re first to the market with something, you shouldn’t half-ass your implementation and then fail to provide the proper business and marketing support to ensure success and then practically abandon the application. So when Apple Pay becomes synonymous for all NFC payments, remember it’s because Google screwed up the implementation and Apple didn’t.

        Just stop whining.

      • sup

        Yeah, ur right, its super unfair that us android users get tech and features many years before iphonetards. Yeah, im so sad about it.

      • gittlopctbi

        That was really a lame retort to @sup. You said to @sup to “stop whining,” yet it is your post that comes across as such.

      • Jeff Maxwell

        Exactly what is it that you think I’m whining about? I’m perfectly happy with the way things are going. Nothing to whine about from my end.

      • Harold

        Wait, I SAID PEOPLE IN THE STORE GOT CRAZY ABOUT IT, I DIDNT. Ive known about the NFC for years. BTW why are you here when this is a blog for apple users only. BTW, The guy didn’t even know what NFC was. In fact, he didn’t even know what apple pay was either. Not everyone cares about the latest tech out there. I can’t say it was one, it was all of them who were clueless about it. Im not acting like this is the most amazing thing ever. So don’t be stupid and calm down. If just telling my experience makes me act like crazy then i guess im crazy….

      • sup

        Wow bro, calm the f down. I meant people in the store went crazy, just like you said. I didnt say YOU went crazy. Maybe you should re-read what was written, bro.

        Also, i wasnt aware this blog was for apple users only, better call the apple police on me. I own a mac mini, not that any of your f-ing business. You are the typical apple fanboy.

      • Harold

        my bad

  • Ariel

    its like forcing a person to pay in cash when they have a credit machine under the counter. Its just not logical!

    • gittlopctbi

      Oh, pleeeze! Your “logic” is a good, typical example of how Apple users think the world revolves around them.

      • Ariel

        So your saying that you would not get mad if you were suddenly not allowed to use your credit, when you know they have the equipment and have used it until now?

  • coLin

    please give customers choices!!! don’t be so Apple ;P

  • gittlopctbi

    Let’s hear it for lawyers! “Antitrust” for not wanting to use a system? Wow. “Antitrust” when their system isn’t even up and running? Wow.

  • Benjamin J Schwartz

    I’m not an antitrust lawyer, and I suspect no one else posting on here is, so I guess not one of us can meaningfully contribute to this article’s commentary. Regardless, I’ll still try. It looks to me like MCX, which as a whole represents a substantial portion of big box store sales, is using its position in the market to shut out legitimate competition. That sounds like artificially eliminating fair competition in the marketplace, so yeah, I’m guessing it’s an antitrust violation. It doesn’t seem to me that this situation would call for a class action suit, and I would assume this money grab will never reach trial. Rather, this situation should be investigated by the Attorney General’s office to ensure that antitrust laws aren’t being broken by MCX’s anti-competitive behavior.